Cultural Heritage Forum
By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 1 March 2018
So what is cultural heritage?
Cultural heritage encompasses three main areas:
Built environment: man-made structures such as buildings and ruins
Natural environment: e.g. cliffs, rural landscapes or woodland
Artefacts: E.g. Books, pottery, pictures or paintings
Best things about working in the sector
Our speakers shared with us why they enjoy working in this sector. Even though they all have different roles and backgrounds, lots of similarities were clear:
- Variety – of objects, tasks, sites and people.
- The opportunity to influences change – in policy, in planning decisions and in people’s opinions
- You get to argue a case – for things that have no voice of their own
Challenges of working in the sector
The main issue that came up time and time again was – the competitive nature of the job. It is such a popular sector to get into. Luckily, our speakers shared some top tips for getting ahead in the race. A master’s degree is not always enough to get you in.
5 Top Tips for Students
- Don’t panic if you don’t know what job you want to go into – there might be jobs you do not know exists.
- Network and meet as many people in the field as you can.
- Think about what you can offer that is different from other people – so for example getting involved in fundraising and understanding that process or working with young people
- Take every opportunity for experience that comes to you, whether this is volunteering, doing field work or part-time work. This can often lead to full time jobs
- Have confidence and patience if your first few attempts at applying come to nothing.
Finally we opened up to some question from the students
You talked about networking a lot – where can I meet relevant people?
- On the masters programmes – your peers and academics
- Talks by professionals – speak to them!
- Create or join groups on Facebook
- University open talks (look on their website/twitter)
- Read professional blogs– and contact them with the personal touch “I read your blog about….what is your opinion about…I’d like to find out more….”
How much volunteering work does it take to get a paid job?
- It really depends on the organisation and what you do
- Sadly, it is often being in the right place and the right time
- However, think about helping with social media communications or online content which could be done at home. This is sometimes a skill that is lacking.
Can you work in others roles, such as PR?
- Yes! It actually has good links with cultural heritage e.g. exhibitions. It is a great area to get in.
- You will have to have skills such as PR and administration anyway when working with a smaller company.
- They really need people with a commercial or business head
- You often need to have a problem-solving brain e.g. how can I build an apartment building on top of a roman boat – whilst preserving the boat and avoiding sinking the building…
Many thanks to our speakers:
Freya Stannard, Manager of the Acceptance in Lieu and Cultural Gifts Schemes at Arts Council England.
Ruth Dewhirst, Education Assistant in the Charles Dickens Museum
Dr Jane Sidell. The Inspector of Ancient Monuments for London
Nick Bishop, Senior Heritage Consultant at Planning Consultancy Lichfields